June 26, 2013 at 2:24 PM ET
Paula Deen remained front and center on Wednesday, after her tearful sit-down with Matt Lauer on TODAY.
Kathie Lee and Hoda watched the interview — ”stomach in knots,” KLG said — from their morning makeup chairs, but were unsure what it would mean for Deen.
Hoda left the makeup chair feeling halfway reassured: “When I saw the interview, I thought she spoke directly to the people," she said. "I though she helped herself.”
But, Kathie Lee pointed out, “a lot of other people around here didn't think so at all.”
The real issue, KLG said, was that they still couldn't tell exactly where Paula was coming from, or what her original intentions were in using the slur in the first place.
“Does she regret what she said, truly repent of it, or is she sorry that she got caught, now that there's so much at stake?” KLG asked. Later, she wondered again, “Did she intend to be hurtful? That's the only thing we cannot figure out about this.”
“I think everyone at home...You've said something you regret and wish you could take back," Hoda added.
Kathie Lee agreed with that, of course. “We've also said and done things we're ashamed of," she said. "We'd all like to take things back.”
But as visibly torn up about the situation as they were, both ladies had to admit there were a few snags and inconsistencies in Deen's interview.
“The other thing that didn't sit well with me,” Hoda said, “is when she said there are people out there trying to take her down.”
“That just muddied it,” KLG added.
So, what's next? Is there anything Paula Deen can do at this point to rectify things?
Hoda, at least, thinks the inside scoop might help. “Because of the way she speaks of her employees, the way they love her and she loves them...I'd actually like to hear from some of them," she said. "You want to hear other people who've known her for a long time standing up for her. If that's the case.”
“The thing is,” Kathie Lee concluded, “nothing will ever be the same. She will be answering for this in one way or another for the rest of her life.”